Dos and Don'ts in a police checkpoint
The PNP recently released a list of checkpoint guidleines so that the general public may be informed whether or not the police checkpoints in your area are legitimate and following their standard operating procedures. The advisory will also serve as a warning to erring law enforcers and eliminate illegal checkpoints.
According to the PNP, the public advisory will help guide motorists on how to deal with authorities at checkpoints and ensure its implementation on proper searches and seizures to avoid violation of human rights.
"As the promotion of right-based policing becomes a focal point in the agenda of the PNP leadership, the conduct of police or law enforcement must be in compliance with human rights standard," said PNP Chief Nicanor A. Bartolome.
The PNP Chief, Police Director General Nicanor A Bartolome reiterated strict compliance on the proper conduct of checkpoints. Following are the rules on military/police checkpoints:
- Checkpoint must be well-lighted, properly identified, and manned by uniformed personnel.
- Upon approach, slowdown, dim headlights, and turn on cabin lights. Never step out of the vehicle.
- Lock all doors. Only visual search is allowed.
- Do not submit to a physical or body search.
- You are not obliged to open glove compartment, trunk or bags.
- Ordinary/Routine questions may be asked. Be courteous but firm with answers.
- Assert your rights, have presence of mind and do not panic.
- Keep your driver's license and car registration handy and within reach.
- Be ready to use your cellphone at anytime. Speed Dial emergency number.
- Report violations immediately. Your actions may save others.
Along with these guidelines the PNP and the Department of Justice, initiated a joint reform of a "no tint" or "clear window" policy among marked police vehicles and similar official vehicles to help boost the confidence of the community on authorities. The policy promotes accountability in governance and may also place an inherent check on scalawags.
In some rare instances though the police are authorized to conduct a thorough search of you and your vehicle if:
They have a search warrant for you or your vehicle.
They see suspicious objects or markings on you or your vehicle such as weapons, illegal drugs or substances, broken glasses/window on your vehicle, and other contrabands that makes you or your car suspicious.
The police officers conducting the checkpoint have been given prior alarm that you or your vehicle had been involved in a crime.
If ever you passed by a checkpoint and are required a thorough inspection of you and your vehicle for the reasons mentioned above, make sure that you inspect the warrant(if ever there is one presented) for its authenticity and have a witness ready before you allow the police to do a search on you or your vehicle.